1. Syed Zubair Haider Tirmazi, 36, Pakistani, sales assistant manager
Gaming got to me in my early 20s. There was an arcade in the basement of my office in Deira. Every day at lunch hour, I would play Metal Slug, the only good game they had in my view. Summertime was usually spent indoors with friends playing our favourite games. On weekends, it would be about two to three hours of gaming and on weekdays about an hour or so.
Was it an addiction? I prefer to call it a pastime. I don’t play complex or layered games any more; rather, I restrict myself to casual gaming. There are plenty of titles on mobile to keep me satisfied.
When I started, I started playing on Sony PlayStation, moved on to PlayStation 2 and then got a Nintendo Wii. That was my last console. God of War Series, Metal Gear Series, Devil May Cry are some of the outstanding titles I remember playing. The Wii was great fun; you should try tennis if the console is still available.
2. Sinan Ahmad, 9, Pakistani student
Video games are awesome; the best kind of fun. I do not game during weekdays as it’s the time to focus on my studies. But on weekends, I am allowed to play for two hours and also during my vacation. I started playing on the iPad when I was seven and my favourite game was Subway Surf. As I got older, I got other consoles. My favourite video game console is Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 and sometimes I also like playing computer games. I like it that I can play online with my friends and there are so many video games, I don’t get bored.
My best game ever is Minecraft, I like to play it on my tablet, on Xbox and on the computer. I have recently finished playing Batman Arkham Knight. I finished the game within three weeks.
3. Yousuf Adel, 14, Egyptian student
I am obsessed with gaming. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s great fun playing solo and endless fun playing with friends. Now that it is the summer break, I play around 11 or 12 hours every day. But when I have school, I play only 12 hours on weekends. I had six controllers because every year, one will have an issue from excessive gaming so I got a SCUF controller, which is a specialised gaming controller and is made for heavy gamers with special features such as a grip on the back of the controller so my hands won’t be slippery after long periods of play. I started gaming when I was seven, when the PlayStation 3 was released in Japan in 2006. The games I enjoy are adventure and shooting, like Assassin Creed 4, Call of Duty — Black Ops 2, Grand Theft Auto 5. I have not joined gaming competitions yet, however, I currently rank in the world’s top 50 in a game called Uncharted 3, a shooting game.
4. Andrew Ptasinski, 25, Polish, network engineering graduate
I started gaming seriously probably at around seven or eight years of age. In the beginning it was mostly single player adventure games to kill time. During my teens, I moved on to playing online, with a more competitive mindset. Ever since, I stick with select titles I enjoy, not necessarily due to graphics or storylines, but more due to the gameplay and competitive aspect of the game. I play solely on the PC, I’m not a console gamer. At the moment, the game that is taking up more than 90 per cent of my game time is Defence of the Ancients 2, which is more commonly know as Dota 2.
Why do I game? Probably two factors — distraction and competition. I tend to find it relaxing to get away from everyday issues and focus on a game for 30-45 minutes to let my brain “reboot”. Some enjoy running, others like yoga, for me, it’s video games.
I don’t particularly enjoy mindlessly slaying zombies or building virtual cities. The games I pick up tend to require high skills, which forces me to focus on the game while I play it, and also gives me a sense of achievement when I succeed in it.
I do not consider myself a gaming addict; maybe I was one several years back.
Gaming is still definitely a large part of my life but, in my opinion, not a negative one.
5. Roy Francis Corona, 28, Filipino software engineer
I like to play games because they help me relax, especially with the nature of my work that is about solving other people’s problems. In high school, I saved up my pocket money to buy my first gaming console — a PlayStation in 2002. I started playing computer games in 2004 when my parents bought me my first computer. I played Startcraft, Age of Empires, Cossacks, Ragnarok online, Gunbound, Dota and, as time went by, I shifted to games like Dekaron, Heroes of Newerth and now Dota 2, Clash of Clans and Tai Chi Panda.
I play 2-3 hours a days during weekdays and no less than four hours during the weekends depending on the day’s plan. Back in 2008-2010, I would play anywhere between 12-18 hours a day. Gaming helps me to think creatively, gives me a sense of belonging because the virtual world is where you can meet, talk and do cooperative tasks with other people. It also helps me sleep because I have a hard time going to sleep, especially during work days.
The bad side of gaming is that it takes up too much of my time, especially time I should be spending with my loved ones.
There were times I had more fun being in my virtual world than in the real one — I was drifting away from reality.
Today, I prefer to say I am a gaming enthusiast; earlier, I would have called myself a gaming addict.